Double-murder accused found hanged

 

A lodger accused of the murders of his landlady and her mother has been found hanged in his prison cell.

Barry Morrow, 52, was due to face trial in May over the deaths of Angela Holgate, 54, and Alice Huyton, 75, whose strangled bodies were found at Mrs Holgate's home in Southport on December 3.

A Prison Service spokeswoman said: "HMP Manchester prisoner Barry Morrow was found hanging in his cell at 2.18pm on Thursday February 9.

"Staff attempted resuscitation and paramedics attended but he was pronounced dead at 2.46pm.

"As with all deaths in custody, the prisons and probation ombudsman will conduct an investigation."

Morrow had been remanded in custody ahead of a plea hearing on March 19 at Liverpool Crown Court, with a scheduled trial date of May 7.

Police launched a Europe-wide hunt for him when he was spotted in France shortly after Avon saleswoman Mrs Holgate and her mother were found by a relative at the address in Fairhaven Road.

Morrow was seen in Calais after apparently catching a ferry across the Channel with Mrs Holgate's white Citroen car.

He returned to the UK days later and was arrested.

While at large he had contacted a local newspaper via Facebook to protest his innocence.

Mrs Huyton was last seen on the evening of December 2 when she left her home in Southport to visit her daughter.

Divorced Mrs Holgate, the mother of two adult daughters, had been ill and had not been seen out of the house where she had lived for around 20 years for the previous week.

Mrs Huyton had been married to her husband Jim for 55 years, with Angela their only daughter.

Mrs Huyton's son John - brother to Mrs Holgate - said the family was "bewildered and devastated at the loss of two very special people".

He said: "Both Alice and Angela were very popular and led active lives and had many friends.

"They meant so much in the eyes of different family members and held the roles of great-grandmother, grandmother, mother, wife, aunty, sister and sister-in-law. The sad loss has had a severe impact on the whole family."

Police confirmed that the "indication" from the post-mortem examination was that Mrs Holgate died before her mother, but it had not been established how long before.

It is also understood that Mrs Holgate was not in a romantic relationship with Mr Morrow at the time she died.

Police had said they were "keeping an open mind" about the motive behind the killings and said the house did not appear to have been burgled.

Sources at the time of the manhunt confirmed Morrow was "known to the police".

It is understood he pleaded guilty last year to assaulting a woman from Southport. The victim was neither Mrs Holgate nor her mother.

Morrow, originally from Burnley, Lancashire, was first seen at the address earlier last year. He recently re-paved the front garden and driveway.

Morrow is the second high-profile prisoner to be found hanging at HMP Manchester in recent weeks.

Paedophile Martin Smith, 46, was discovered by staff on January 23 and was pronounced dead shortly after.

Smith used hypnotism and violence to groom and sexually abuse a young girl.

Last March he was jailed for 16 years at Liverpool Crown Court after being convicted of 11 specimen charges of rape, attempted rape, indecency with a child and indecent assault, spanning nine years from May 1995 to May 2004, following a trial in December 2010.

His partner, Lianne Smith, 43, is accused of murdering their two children, Rebecca, five, and 11-month-old Daniel in a Spanish hotel.

The children were found dead in the Hotel Miramar in the resort of Lloret de Mar on the Costa Brava on May 18 2010.

Martin Smith was extradited to the UK earlier the same month in connection with the rape inquiry.

PA

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